ECONOMY

Greek industrial output rises in August for first time in over 4 years

Greek industrial output rose in August for the first time since the country’s debt crisis began, led by higher exports, data from statistics agency ELSTAT showed on Wednesday.

The indicator rose by 2.5 percent year-on-year, its first positive reading since April 2008, according to ELSTAT data.

Economists attributed the rise to Greece’s export industry, which has benefited from falling labour costs as the country has implemented policies laid out under its bailout deal.

“Industrial sectors with export orientation, such as pharmaceutical products as well as basic metals and metallic minerals, led the recovery,» said Nick Magginas, an economist at National Bank of Greece.

Industry accounts for just 15 percent of Greece’s economy, meaning a revival in the sector is unlikely on its own to lead to a sustained recovery.

The Greek economy is expected to remain in deep recession for a fifth consecutive year in 2012, fuelled by austerity policies as part of the country’s EU/IMF bailout.

The Greek government expects GDP to shrink by 6.5 percent this year after a 7.1 percent contraction in 2011.

[Reuters]